Archive for April, 2020

Informational Guide: What is Water Conditioner

Posted by Rayne Water

Water conditioners are a great alternative to water softener systems, but what is water conditioning exactly and how does it work? Understanding the details about what water conditioners are, how they are different from water softeners, and how they work can help you determine if a water conditioning system is right for your needs.

What is a Water Conditioner?

Water conditioning is a type of water treatment that is often thought of as an alternative to water softening. However, these two types of systems function in very different ways and produce different results. Water conditioners are primarily used to remove unwanted contaminants like chlorine, chloramines, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Water conditioners also reduce levels of lead in water. 

Not all water conditioners provide the same results. Some water conditioners are used as a salt-free alternative to water softening systems. These types of water conditioners provide some of the benefits of softened water, but don’t actually remove hard minerals from water. 

Water conditioners are considered a type of physical water treatment. The benefits of physical water treatment methods like water conditioning are:

Water Conditioning vs Water Softening

If you are tired of dealing with the impact of hard water around your home, you’ll probably want to first look into a water softening system. These systems are a time-tested method of completely eliminating the effects of hard water around your home. While some water conditioners also provide the benefits of soft water, many don’t alter water hardness at all.

The easiest way to understand a water conditioner vs water softener is a water softener removes hard minerals from water and replaces them with sodium ions from a brine tank. In contrast, certain types of saltless water conditioners alter the structure of the hard minerals in water so they don’t cause scaling.

Conditioned water still contains minerals, however, some water conditioners alter the structure of those minerals so they don’t cause scaling around your home or in your appliances. With softened water, the minerals are actually removed from the water and sodium ions are exchanged in their place.

 

 

What is Scaling?

One thing worth pausing on is the issue of scaling. The goal of water softeners and some types of water conditioners is to eliminate scaling, but what exactly is scaling? 

Let’s start with the level of water hardness. Water is considered hard if it contains a relatively large amount of dissolved mineral ions. Most often the minerals contained in hard water are dissolved calcium and magnesium. These molecules are bound to the water molecule through an electrical charge and are picked up as water percolates through mineral-rich soil.

When hard water passes over a surface, such as your faucet, shower door, or even the inside of your plumbing, the minerals contained in the water supply precipitate out and bond to the surface they pass over. These mineral deposits are known as scaling.

Scaling may not seem like a big deal but it actually is! On surfaces around your home where scale forms are unsightly, often appearing as a whitish or yellowish deposit, and difficult to remove. But scaling also forms on the inside of your plumbing. Over time these scale deposits will reduce the flow of water through your pipes. 

Scaling is a particular problem in appliances or machinery that heat water. In a residential setting, scaling will primarily impact your water heater, dishwasher, or coffee pot, reducing the efficiency and lifespan of those appliances. In a commercial setting, scaling can cause huge problems in industrial boilers. As scale builds in equipment and plumbing, systems experience a decrease in efficiency and equipment lifespan is shortened.

How Does a Water Conditioner Work?

We have a broad understanding of what is water conditioner, and know that some types of water conditioners can change the physical structure of the hard minerals in the water, but how does this occur? In other terms, how does a water conditioner work

To answer this question it is important to understand that there are different types of water conditioners that offer different results. A traditional water conditioner like the Rayne Executive Series is used to provide whole-house water filtration. These systems filter out the chemicals and compounds that give your water a bad taste and smell, such as chlorine and VOCs.

There are also water conditioners that offer some of the benefits of softened water, such as the Rayne Spartan Series water conditioners. These water conditioners rely on a special type of resin bead known as template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media to alter the minerals in hard water so that they don’t cause scaling.  

TAC media consists of small resin beads. Printed on those beads are catalytically active sites known as templates that encourage nucleation. As hard water enters the system, it passes over these beads. As the dissolved minerals in the hard water come into contact with the TAC media, a small amount of the mineral ions come together and form a crystal. This crystal is sometimes referred to as a seed-crystal because it serves as a foundation for other minerals to attach to. Once these seed-crystals form, other mineral ions in the water detach from the water molecules and attach to the seed-crystals.

Once the mineral ions in hard water are transformed into a crystalline structure they will not bond to surfaces the water passes over or through. This virtually eliminates scaling. Are you wondering, “how long does water conditioner take to work”? Surprisingly, the water filtration process happens instantly. With a water conditioner you’ll have the normal water flow you are used to, and lots of conditioned water on-demand.

If you are wondering about an electronic water conditioner and if they work, it’s difficult to make a judgment one way or another. Many people claim they work, and some experiments have supported that. Other research, however, has not demonstrated magnetic or electronic descalers are effective during their testing. If you are looking for consistent, repeatable scale prevention it is best to stick with water softening or a water conditioning system that uses TAC media.

Curious about what the Best Water Conditioner is for you? It depends on what you want out of your water conditioner. If you want water that smells and tastes better, a traditional water conditioning system may be ideal. If reducing the impact of hard water around your home is more important to you, then you’ll want to use a water conditioning system like the Rayne Spartan Series that provides many of the benefits of softened water.

Here are a couple of key features of water conditioners that are worth highlighting.

Get started today! We specialize in providing the purest water possible!

Closing Thoughts

Water conditioners are often promoted as a salt-free alternative to water softening systems, but it is important to understand how these systems differ from water softeners before you settle on a water treatment solution.

Most water conditioners remove the chemicals and compounds that give your water an unpleasant taste or smell. These include chlorine, chloramines, and VOCs. These types of water conditioners are an excellent treatment option if you don’t have hard water or aren’t concerned with eliminating hard water in your home.

Some water conditioners can also provide many of the benefits of softened water. Systems like the Rayne Spartan Series alter the structure of the hard minerals in the water so that it doesn’t cause scaling or buildup around your home. While these systems don’t remove hard minerals from water, they do offer a viable salt-free alternative to water softening systems.

Aren’t sure whether a water conditioner or water softener is right for you? Get in contact with Rayne Water today so one of our helpful water quality experts can help you assess your needs and make a targeted recommendation. It may also be helpful to have one of our technicians perform a water test so you can see exactly what is in your water, and find the most effective treatment solution for those unwanted contaminants and heavy metals. 

To learn more about Rayne Water’s water conditioners please contact us today!

Find a location near you!

 

Sources

  1. https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/multi-aia/the-intelligent-scale-solution–template-assisted-crystallization
  2. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/567404
  3. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a399455.pdf
  4. Vastyan, John. 2010. “Template-Assisted Crystallization.” Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering 82 (11): 34–37.

How Long Does Water Conditioner Take to Work

Posted by Rayne Water

If you are in the process of installing a water conditioner, you are probably curious about how they work. Does this system facilitate reverse osmosis? Does it remove chlorine, chemicals and other heavy metals from tap water? 

Most water conditioners remove chemical contaminants from your water, while some also alter the minerals in water so they don’t cause scaling, but how long does this process take to work? Let’s dive into the question of “how does a water conditioner work” and determine whether its function is a good fit for you!

How Does a Water Conditioner Work?

Water conditioners work in different ways depending on what contaminants you want to be removed from your water. Many water conditioners remove chemical contaminants from water. These include chlorine, chloramines, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals and compounds alter the taste and smell of your water.

Some water conditioners also provide soft water benefits. Water conditioners achieve this feat through a process known as nucleation. To do this, water conditioners utilize special resin beads known as template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media. On TAC media are printed catalytically activated sites known as templates. 

As water moves through these water conditioners it passes over the TAC media beads. A small proportion of the dissolved minerals in water come into contact with the template sites printed on the beads, where they are encouraged to come together in an ordered crystalline pattern. These initial steps form what is called a seed-crystal, which is a tiny crystal.

Once the seed-crystal has been formed it attracts other dissolved mineral ions that contribute to water hardness. The dissolved mineral ions prefer to attach and build the existing crystal rather than attach to other surfaces your water may come into contact with. Although your water conditioner only physically alters a small proportion of the mineral ions in your water, those changes are sufficient to encourage the remaining mineral ions in your hard tap water to change as well. This physical change in the mineral structure helps answer the question of what is a water conditioner

One thing to note about the water conditioners that provide soft water benefits we’ve described here is that they specifically rely on TAC media to function. You might be wondering about electronic water conditioners. Do they work? The answer is complicated. Some studies have shown a decrease in scaling associated with magnetic or electronic water conditioners, while others have not. Unlike electronic water conditioners, water conditioners using TAC media provide repeatable, consistent results.

Get started today! We specialize in providing the purest water possible!

How Long do Water Conditioners Take to Work?

Now that we’ve outlined the different results water conditioners can provide, you’re probably wondering how long does water conditioner take to work? The good news is that conditioning water happens very quickly. You shouldn’t notice a decrease in flow rate, and water conditioners are capable of conditioning as much water as you need. This could mean gallons and gallons of water! 

Whether you are using a water conditioner to remove chemicals altering the smell or taste of your water, or are using a water conditioner that provides some soft water benefits, water conditioning happens immediately. This allows you to condition water on-demand, rather than having to wait for it. 

Why Consider a Water Conditioner?

Aren’t sure whether a water conditioner is right for you? Let’s take a look at a few of the top advantages of water conditioning systems.

Closing Thoughts

How long does conditioned water take to work? No time at all! Water conditioning happens on demand.

Most water conditioners remove chemicals and compounds that give your water an unpleasant taste or smell. Additionally, some water conditioners can also provide the benefits of soft water without the use of salt! While these types of water conditioners don’t remove hard minerals from water, they do alter it in a way that reduces the impact of hard water around your home or business.

Aren’t sure whether a water conditioner vs water softener is right for you? Our specialists at Rayne can help! These two types of systems function in different ways and produce different results, so understanding what you want out of your water treatment system is crucial.

Contact Rayne Water today to find the Best Water Conditioner for your home or business.

Find a location near you!

Sources:

  1. https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/multi-aia/the-intelligent-scale-solution–template-assisted-crystallization
  2. https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/grants_loans/water_recycling/research/ion_exchange_water_softeners.pdf
  3. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/567404
  4. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a399455.pdf
  5. Vastyan, John. 2010. “Template-Assisted Crystallization.” Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering 82 (11): 34–37.

How Does a Water Conditioner Work?

Posted by Rayne Water

Saltless water conditioners are often suggested as a viable alternative to water softening systems, but what is a water conditioner and how does it work? Both water softeners and water conditioners were developed to help residential and commercial customers reduce unwanted contaminants in tap water. But, these two types of water filtration systems function in fundamentally different ways and produce different results.

If you are on the fence about whether a water conditioner is right for you, gaining a better understanding of exactly how water conditioners work can help you make an informed decision about which type of system is right for you and your soft water needs. While water softeners are excellent at dealing with hard water minerals, in some circumstances a water conditioner may be preferable. To learn why let’s take a look at how water conditioners work and whether they are a viable water softener alternative.

What’s in Your Water?

Conditioners are an alternative to water softening systems, but these systems are used to remove different types of contaminants from your water. The type of system you choose for water treatment is usually determined by what contaminants you want to remove from your water.

Tap water can contain many contaminants. Some of these contaminants are minerals, which can be left as deposits known as scaling. Water is considered hard if it contains relatively high levels of dissolved minerals. Often these minerals are calcium carbonate and magnesium, which are picked up by water as it percolates through stone and soil.

Other common contaminants are disinfectants, such as chlorine, disinfection byproducts, chloramines, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals and compounds alter how your water tastes and smells. 

There are effective treatment options for both categories of contaminants in your water. If your primary concern are the impacts of hard water around your home, you’ll probably want to choose a water treatment system that can remove hard minerals or reduce their impact. These include water softening systems, or certain types of water conditioners. 

On the other hand, if you are concerned about the taste and smell of your water or prefer a salt-free system, a water conditioner may be right for you. 

What’s the Problem With Hard Water?

Hard water isn’t harmful to your health, and if you lack a nutrient-rich diet the minerals contained in hard water can actually be beneficial. Though there are a few negative impacts on the human body from water hardness, including brittle or dry hair and dry skin, most of the undesirable hard water effects can be found around your home.

When hard water passes over or evaporates on a surface it leaves behind the dissolved minerals it contains. This is known as scaling. Scaling can occur on any surface hard water comes into contact with. It is most frequently seen on the inside of plumbing over long periods of time and on surfaces and fixtures in your kitchen or bathroom. The mineral deposits from hard tap water will make your clothes more brittle and dull. When your dishes come out of the dishwasher they will have small white spots on them, which are minerals left behind when hard water has dried.

Your appliances are affected by hard water as well. When hard water is heated it leaves behind scale. This means appliances like your water heater, teapot, or coffee pot will have a reduced lifespan as scale builds up inside them. In a commercial setting, scaling can reduce the lifespan of boilers and heaters, as well as the plumbing which delivers water to systems.

The impacts of hard water don’t end at your home or business. Industrial agriculture requires water to be softened, usually through the use of a reverse osmosis system, to give growers greater control over the PH of the water they are using on their crops. Manufacturers in certain industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry, also remove dissolved minerals from water to achieve higher purity and consistency in their products through an ion exchange process.

Get started today! We specialize in providing the purest water possible!

Water Softening vs. Water Conditioning

If you’re like most people, you are probably wondering about the difference between a water conditioner vs water softener. Let’s break down the differences between these two terms.

How Does a Water Conditioner Work?

So exactly what is water conditioner? Water conditioners are used to condition water, but this term has multiple meanings in the industry. Most water conditioners remove contaminants that give your water an unpleasant smell or taste. Contaminants like chlorine, which is used as a disinfection agent in tap water, can be absorbed through the skin and gives water an unpleasant smell and taste. Likewise, VOCs can also cause your water to smell or taste unpleasant. Most water conditioners remove these substances, but don’t actually remove the calcium and magnesium in your water that cause scaling around your home. 

Some water conditioners also provide many of the benefits of softened water, but don’t actually remove the hard minerals from your water in the way that a water softener does. The goal of these saltless water conditioners is to alter the hardness of water so scaling doesn’t occur. The Best Water Conditioner does this through the use of a specialized material known as TAC media. 

Template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media contains nucleation sites that attract the dissolved mineral ions in hard water. These dissolved mineral ions come together and form very tiny crystals. Sometimes these crystals are known as “seed crystals”. Once these seed crystals have formed, the other hard minerals in the water bond to them preferentially.

Let’s break down this water filtration process. In a water conditioning system like the Rayne Spartan Series that uses TAC media, hard water enters the water conditioner and flows over the TAC media. As the water is flowing over the TAC media, dissolved mineral ions in the hard water are briefly attracted to the media and come together to form very tiny crystals. These crystals then continue on with the water. Any other dissolved mineral ions remaining in the water preferentially attach to the crystals in the water, rather than to other surfaces the water comes into contact with.

Keep in mind that many water conditioners provide a fundamentally different function than water softeners. While most water conditioners will remove contaminants such as chlorine and organic gases from your water, they won’t alter or remove water hardness. This makes them a great water treatment alternative for individuals who are concerned with contaminants in their water, but don’t necessarily need the benefits of softened water. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions people have about water conditioners as a water softener alternative. 

Will I be able to taste or feel the crystals that form in conditioned drinking water?

For water conditioners that provide some soft water benefits you won’t be able to notice the crystals which have formed in the conditioned water. These crystals are very small. You can’t see or feel them. However, if you prefer the taste of water with some mineral content, you’ll still be able to have water that tastes the same.

How much water can be conditioned?

Like water softeners, most water conditioners are considered a whole-house solution for hard water problems. This means these systems are installed shortly after your main water line enters your home. This allows the system to condition all of the water flowing through your home. 

Will I still get scaling with conditioned water?

It depends! Water conditioners don’t remove hard minerals from water. Many water conditioners remove other contaminants like chlorine and chloramines, but don’t alter water hardness. Certain types of water conditioners can provide many of the benefits of softened water, such as eliminating scaling, but even these water conditioners don’t actually soften water. Instead, water conditioners that provide the benefits of soft water alter the structure of the hard minerals in your water so that they don’t cause scaling. While conditioned water still contains minerals, those minerals are in a different form which doesn’t bond to surfaces and fixtures in your home.

What about an electronic water conditioner, do they work?

Electronic water conditioners have not been independently evaluated to eliminate problems associated with hard water, including scaling. These systems involve a series of magnets or coils wrapped around the water line coming into your home to disrupt or agitate hard water in order to alter the chemical structure of the hard minerals. Rather than trust unproven technology, it is far better to use a system known to work such as a water softener.

How long does the water conditioner take to work?

One of the most frequently asked questions is “how long does water conditioner take to work?” Water conditioners work immediately. There is no delay between when water flows through a water conditioner and when it is conditioned. Water conditioners are capable of providing large amounts of conditioned water as-needed, so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to run out of the water if you do an extra load of dishes or take two showers. You are sure to have gallons of water on tap. 

Do water conditioners require the use of brine?

Water conditioners don’t require anything to be added to the water, including salt! This makes them an excellent choice for areas with brine solution restrictions in place which limit the use of water softener systems. An added advantage of not using a brine tank is water conditioners also don’t need access to a drainage line. This may make installation easier in some homes.

Are water conditioners energy efficient?

Water conditioners are very energy efficient. These are passive systems, meaning as water flows through the system it is conditioned. This makes them economically and environmentally friendly and reduces ongoing costs associated with the system.

Closing Thoughts

There are different types of water conditioners that provide different benefits. Understanding which is right for you will depend on what result you desire out of your water treatment system.

Most water conditioners are used to eliminate bad odors and tastes from water. These types of water conditioners reduce levels of lead, chlorine, chloramine, and VOCs. This type of treatment will give you water that tastes crisp and has no unpleasant smells.

Don’t worry if you are concerned about the impact of hard water around your home, there are some great treatment options available! The most common treatment option for hard water is a water softener, which removes hard minerals from water. Certain types of water conditioners, such as the Rayne Spartan Series conditioners, also provide many of the benefits of soft water but don’t require the use of salt and don’t remove hard minerals from water. 

If you are still undecided about whether a water softener or water conditioner is right for you, please contact Rayne Water today. Our helpful staff can help assess your water treatment needs and outline the advantages and disadvantages of these systems for you. If you need a water treatment system for commercial use, we have bottleless coolers, commercial water softeners and reverse osmosis systems. Contact us today!

Find a location near you!

Sources:

  1. https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/multi-aia/the-intelligent-scale-solution–template-assisted-crystallization
  2. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/567404
  3. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a399455.pdf
  4. Vastyan, John. 2010. “Template-Assisted Crystallization.” Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering 82 (11): 34–37.

Electronic Water Conditioner: Do They Work?

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

If you are searching for a solution to water hardness and its impacts on your home or business, you may come across electronic descalers. Sometimes referred to as magnetic descalers, electronic water softeners, or electronic water conditioners; these products claim to use a magnetic field to alter the chemistry of hard water as it flows into your home.

Do electronic water softeners work? It depends on who you talk to. Let’s take a closer look at what these devices are, how they function, and whether their claims of effectiveness are realized in the real world. We’ll also compare them to two proven technologies, water softeners and water conditioners that use template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media, both of which have demonstrated effectiveness in dealing with the effects of hard water. This information will help you understand which type of system may be best for your particular water supply needs.

What is an Electronic Water Conditioner?

Before diving into the contentious topic of whether these devices reduce scaling, let’s take a moment to break down what an electronic water conditioner is. These water filtration devices claim to use electricity to create a magnetic field around water as it is piped into your home. While this sounds complicated, in reality, the device is fairly simple.

The most common electronic water conditioners are a box with two cables or wires coming out. The device is installed shortly after the main water lining entering your home, making this a point-of-entry (POE) system like most other hard water solutions on the market. The device is usually installed above the water pipe, and each of the wires or cables is wrapped multiple times around the water pipe. After wrapping these two cables around the water pipe they resemble coils, usually with 4-5 wraps each. Other types of electronic water conditioners are simply a clamp that is placed around your incoming water supply line.

The water conditioner unit passes electricity through the wires that have been formed into coils around the water pipe. These coils then generate a small magnetic field your tap water passes through. The magnetic field these devices create is the mechanism through which they claim to alter the chemistry of the water in your pipes.

What Problem Are They Trying to Solve?

Electronic water conditioners claim to remove scaling, but what exactly is scaling and why is it important? Scaling is the result of water hardness and is best understood as a buildup of mineral deposits left behind by hard water. Scaling is an insoluble precipitate that clings stubbornly to surfaces and appears white or greenish in appearance.

If you have hard water, you’ll see scaling on fixtures and surfaces which come into contact with your tap water. Most often this means you’ll find scaling in your bathroom sink and shower, or in your kitchen sink. However, if you cut open the plumbing in your home you would also find mineral buildup inside of your pipes. If your home is very old or you have very hard water, the mineral buildup will make the pipe more narrow and reduce the flow of water. Similarly, if you cut open appliances that heat water, such as your water heater, you would see a buildup of scale deposits inside. These are very common hard water problems.

Those scale deposits aren’t just unsightly, they can also have a real impact on appliances. As scaling builds up inside of your water heater, your water heater operates less efficiently. The same is true in a commercial setting. Industrial boilers or heaters are negatively impacted by scaling deposits left behind by hard water. 

The solution to these problems is to alter or remove the dissolved hard minerals in the water. This is often done through the use of a water softener, which removes those dissolved minerals and replaces them with sodium ions. Some water conditioners also treat water so that it doesn’t form scale, but these systems don’t soften water.

Get started today! We specialize in providing the purest water possible!

Do Electronic or Magnetic Water Conditioners Work?

There is a great deal of debate about whether electronic or magnetic water conditioners work. The manufacturers of these products and supporters of the products themselves offer strong support for their effectiveness. At the same time, many are skeptical of these claims. If you are curious about electronic water conditioners and if they work, it is helpful to turn to an independent voice.

One challenge in evaluating the effectiveness of electronic water conditioners is the lack of existing scientific literature evaluating magnetic water conditioning. While there have been peer-reviewed articles examining the effectiveness of specific devices, the conclusions do not provide a consensus view. Some research has found the devices to have an impact on scaling, while other research has demonstrated no impact at all.

A report released in 2001 by the Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) examined magnetic descalers pointed towards this contradictory record in the scientific literature. Whereas other water softening alternatives, such as ion-exchange water softeners, have a demonstrated record of repeatable effectiveness, the same isn’t true for electronic or magnetic water conditioners. In their own tests, the ERDC found no difference in scale buildup between water treated with a magnetic conditioner and untreated water.

Other tests have yielded similar results. The ERDC points towards two previous attempts by the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in 1984 and 1996 to examine the effectiveness of magnetic water conditioners. In neither case were they able to reduce scaling or corrosion. A report released in 1996 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory also found no reduction in scaling or corrosion when using a magnetic water conditioner. So, do electronic descalers work? They may, but you will probably find more consistent soft water results with a traditional water softener or water conditioner.

Effective Hard Water Solutions

If you are looking for a comprehensive solution to the impacts of hard water, there are two tried and true systems common in both residential and commercial settings. The first is water softening systems, which remove dissolved hard minerals to soften water. The second are certain water conditioners that treat water to eliminate scaling. Wondering, “how does a water conditioner work”? Let’s take a look at each of these systems in greater detail and break down the differences between water conditioner vs water softener.

Water Softeners

Water softening systems provide the benchmark for dealing with hard water problems. Water softeners use a process known as ion-exchange, or reverse osmosis, to remove hard mineral ions and replace them with sodium ions. To do this, water softening systems use a tank filled with charged resin beads. Attached to those beads are sodium ions. Hard water is piped into the tank and as it passes over the beads, dissolved mineral ions are attracted to the beads. The displaced sodium ions take their place which allows the water molecule to maintain a balanced charge.

A key distinguishing feature of water softening systems is that they require regeneration periodically. This is accomplished through the use of a brine tank solution, which is pumped into the resin tank to displace the collected hard water minerals and replace them with fresh sodium ions. The waste of this process is then flushed down a drain line, leaving you with absolutely soft water.

Water Conditioners

So, what is a water conditioner and how is it different from a water softener? Water conditioners don’t actually remove hard minerals from water. Most water conditioners are used to remove the substances from water that cause it to smell or taste bad. These include the disinfectant chlorine, chloramines, organic gases, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Some water conditioners do provide the benefits of softened water, but they don’t actually soften water. These water conditioning systems do this through the use of a material known as template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media. 

When hard water runs over and through TAC media, a small amount of the minerals in the hard water is changed into a crystalline form. The remaining minerals in the hard water preferentially attach to these crystalline mineral structures over attaching to other surfaces, such as the pipes in your home or the surfaces in your bathroom.

Keep in mind that most water conditioners won’t reduce scaling. But they will reduce the smell of chlorine that comes with municipal tap water. Water conditioners also remove other substances and gases that alter the smell and taste of your water, so that your water smells fresh and tastes crisp!

How long does the water conditioner take to work? No time at all! Water conditioning systems can produce as much conditioned water as you need on-demand.

Closing Thoughts

Though electronic water conditioners carry an attractive price point, require no maintenance, and are widely available, there is no substantial evidence they are effective at removing or reducing scaling. Multiple studies have evaluated magnetic and electronic water conditioners and found no repeatable benefit from using them.

If you are combatting the effects of hard water in your residential or commercial building, there are systems with a demonstrated effectiveness in reducing scaling. Water softening systems can remove dissolved hard minerals from hard water through a process known as ion exchange. Alternatively, some water conditioners can offer the benefits of softened water by altering the chemical structure of the hard minerals in the water, but these systems don’t actually remove hard minerals from water.

If you are tired of dealing with the effects of hard water but aren’t sure what type of water treatment system is right for you, contact Rayne Water today. Our helpful staff can assess your treatment needs and help you narrow down water softener systems that are right for you. We also have a water treatment system that suits your business needs including bottleless coolers, reverse osmosis systems and commercial water softeners. For inquiries, contact us today!

Find a location near you!

Sources:

  1. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/567404
  2. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a399455.pdf
  3. Vastyan, John. 2010. “Template-Assisted Crystallization.” Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering 82 (11): 34–37.

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

Difference Between a Water Conditioner vs Water Softener

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

If you are searching for the best water treatment systems for your home you have probably come across water softening systems and water conditioning systems. Though both types of systems are used for water treatment, they produce different results which are worth understanding.

When weighing the choice between water softeners vs water conditioners, it is important to understand that these two types of systems function in different ways and remove different types of contaminants. Water softeners and water conditioners are also configured differently, which can have an impact on the installation process. Let’s take a closer look at how a water softener vs water conditioner works, and what the advantages and disadvantages of each type of system are.

Why Choose to Soften or Condition Your Water Supply?

You may have heard of hard water, but aren’t sure exactly what it is. Water is considered hard if it contains a high level of dissolved minerals. These hard water minerals, in the form of ions, usually consist of calcium and magnesium ions that your water has picked up over time as it percolates through the ground.

Water hardness can have a big impact on your home, body, or business. The most common impact of hard water is the mineral deposits left behind on surfaces that have come into contact with hard water. These mineral deposits are known as scaling. If you have hard water in your home, take a look at the fixtures in your bathroom or surfaces such as your shower doors. You’ll most likely find scale buildup, which is a stubborn mineral buildup that looks whitish in color.

Surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen aren’t the only place where scale builds up. Scale builds up on the inside walls of plumbing over time. Scale can also have a big impact on appliances that heat water, such as your dishwasher or water heater. Scale buildup will reduce the efficiency of these appliances and shorten their lifespan.

Some people choose to soften their tap water because they don’t like the effects of hard water on their bodies. The mineral deposits left behind by hard water can also be found on your hair and skin. These mineral deposits will rob hair of its natural shine and volume, while also causing it to become more brittle. At the same time, mineral deposits left behind on your skin can dry it out.

The most effective way to deal with these problems is to use a house water softener. While water softeners are used to remove hard minerals from water, water conditioners are typically used to remove chemicals and substances that give your water an unpleasant taste or smell. In addition, some water conditioners offer some soft water benefits, while hybrid systems combine both treatment processes into the same system.

But how do you choose between a water conditioner vs water softener? Both of these systems are usually installed where your water line comes into your house so that they provide softened or conditioned water for your whole house.Let’s take a look at how each water filtration system works so that you can better understand whether a water softener vs conditioner is right for you.

Water Softeners

Water softening systems are the most common method to deal with hard water in both a residential and commercial setting. Water softeners use a process known as ion exchange, or reverse osmosis, to soften water. At a functional level, ion exchange systems remove dissolved mineral ions from hard water and replace them with sodium ions.

Most water softening systems consist of two tanks. The primary tank contains special resin beads that have been coated with sodium ions. A second tank contains a salty brine solution which is used to regenerate the resin in the primary tank.

As water moves through the soil it picks up mineral ions. These mineral ions become bound to the water molecule. To break this bond, ion-exchange units attract these mineral ions away from the water molecule. As the water supply enters the primary tank in the water softening system, the mineral ions are attracted to the resin beads. As they attach to the resin beads they displace the sodium ions. The sodium ions bond to the water molecules, allowing them to maintain a balanced charge.

Over time the resin beads will collect so many dissolved minerals the system can’t continue removing more. Because of this, the system must occasionally be regenerated. To regenerate the system, salty water from the brine tank is used to fill the resin tank. This water displaces the mineral ions on the resin beads, replacing them once again with sodium ions. Afterward, any remaining water in the tank is flushed out of the system through a drain line.

Softening water through ion exchange is a time-tested method for eliminating hard water. They are great for providing large amounts of consistent, softened water. Like most filtration systems, ion exchange systems do require a degree of maintenance. The regeneration process must occur regularly, and the owner must add salt to replenish the brine tank periodically. 

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Water Conditioners

Water conditioners and water softeners work in different ways and produce different results. Most water conditioners are salt-free systems that are used to remove unwanted substances that alter the taste or smell of your water. These substances include chlorine, chloramines, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and organic gasses. Water conditioners are also used to remove lead from water.

How does a water conditioner work? It depends on what type of water conditioner you have. Some water conditioners filter out unwanted substances from water as it passes through, giving your water a better smell. Other water conditioners offer some soft water benefits by actually altering the structure of minerals in the water. These systems rely on a specialized material known as template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media to provide the benefits of soft water around your home.

 As hardened water passes over the TAC media, small amounts of hard minerals react with the TAC media and combine to form into crystals about the size of a nanometer. This process is known as nucleation. The crystals formed during this process are sometimes referred to as “seed crystals”. 

Once these nanometer-sized crystals have formed on the TAC media they rejoin the stream of water. Not all of the hard mineral ions in the water have formed into crystals. However, these seed crystals are sufficient to eliminate scaling. This is because the remaining hardness ions contained in the water will prefer to bind to the seed crystals over other surfaces such as the lining of your plumbing or your bathroom fixtures.

Water conditioners using TAC media are highly effective at reducing scaling from hard water. Research conducted by the WaterReuse Research Foundation found TAC media reduced scaling by up to 88%. At the same time, water conditioners like our Spartan series that use TAC media don’t require external power to operate. This results in lower utility costs when compared to other hard water treatment options.

The Best Water Conditioner for you will depend on how you want to treat your water. If you are concerned about exposure to chlorine or lead, a water conditioner like the Rayne Executive Series is probably right for you. However, if you also want the benefits of softened water you may want to consider a water conditioner that uses TAC media or a hybrid system that combines both water softening and conditioning.

 Curious about how long does water conditioner take to work? Water conditioning occurs quickly, so you don’t have to worry about the flow rate being affected or having to wait for conditioned water.

If you are wondering about an electronic water conditioner and if they work, there hasn’t been conclusive evidence one way or the other that electronic or magnetic conditioners are as effective at removing scaling. The available studies have conflicting views on their effectiveness, making them a relatively untested technology.

Which System is Right For You?

If you are weighing your options between a water softener vs water conditioner, it’s helpful to assess the unique features of each system and see how those apply to your life. Both systems are highly effective at reducing the impacts of hard water, yet each system has a unique operation that should be kept in mind.

Water Softeners

Water Conditioners

One thing to note about deciding between a water softener and water conditioner is some cities and regions have laws limiting the use of water softeners. These restrictions, sometimes referred to as brine restrictions, do not allow water treatment systems that flush excess brine down a drain line. This is because many wastewater treatment facilities don’t treat for salt, so excessive levels of salt in the wastewater can limit how that water is reused. So, if you live in an area with brine restrictions contact Rayne so that we can help you determine your most effective treatment system.

 

Closing Thoughts

Both water conditioners and water softeners are highly effective water treatment systems that produce different results. Water softeners address scaling by removing hard minerals from water through a process known as ion exchange. In this process, hard minerals are removed from the water and replaced with sodium ions.

In contrast, most water conditioners remove harmful substances from your water like lead, chlorine, chloramines, and VOCs. Some water conditioners also provide soft water benefits. They do this through a special material that has been imprinted with nucleation sites. As hard minerals pass over the material they form into very tiny crystals. These crystals then attract the other hard minerals in the water, creating a structure that doesn’t form deposits or scale. Don’t worry though, the small crystals formed in conditioned water are too small to taste, feel, or see! 

Both water conditioners and water softeners are great water treatment solutions. We even carry a whole house water filter and softener combo which performs both functions. The underlying process that drives these two soft water systems is fundamentally different, and each has different requirements. Installation for water conditioners tends to be more flexible because they don’t require a drain line.

If you aren’t sure what type of system might be right for you, speak to one of our knowledgeable staff at Rayne Water today! Our water quality experts can assess your water treatment needs and provide you with targeted recommendations. If you aren’t sure about whether a water conditioner or water softener is right for you and are tired of dealing with the effects of hard tap water or water that has an unpleasant smell, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today!

We have a variety of products from residential and commercial water treatment systems including residential RO system, commercial water softeners, bottleless coolers, salt-free water systems and more. Connect with us for further questions!

Sources

  1. https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/multi-aia/the-intelligent-scale-solution–template-assisted-crystallization
  2. https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/grants_loans/water_recycling/research/ion_exchange_water_softeners.pdf
  3. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/567404
  4. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a399455.pdf
  5. Vastyan, John. 2010. “Template-Assisted Crystallization.” Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering 82 (11): 34–37.

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

Best Water Conditioner

Posted by Rayne Water

Do you need a solution to your hard water problems but are having trouble sorting through the available water conditioners on the market? A no salt water conditioner can be a great alternative to salt-based water softening systems, but choosing between systems can be difficult. 

Not all water conditioners will help reduce the impact of hard water around your home. Many water conditioners filter out other contaminants like chlorine and chloramine, but don’t affect water hardness. Understanding the difference between water conditioning systems and their capabilities is essential for finding the best water conditioner for your needs. In order to help you find the best salt free water conditioner, we’ll explore what you should look for in a water conditioner and what you should expect from one in terms of water hardness, flow rate, and more.

What is Water Conditioning?

You may be asking yourself, “what is a water conditioner?”. Water conditioners are an alternative to water softening systems, but they offer very different results. Water conditioners are a water treatment system that removes unwanted substances from your water, including lead, chlorine, chloramines, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

In contrast, water softening systems are used to remove hard minerals like calcium and magnesium from water. These minerals cause scaling, soap scum, and many other hard water problems around your home.

Water conditioners are a salt-free alternative to water softeners. How does a water conditioner work? Different water conditioners work in different ways. The Best Water Conditioner for reducing the impact of hard water around your home uses a substance known as template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media to physically alter the structure of the minerals in your hard tap water through a process known as nucleation. Specifically, the minerals in water conditioned by these systems have been altered to be crystalline in structure, which ensures they won’t attach and cause buildup to surfaces and fixtures in your home. Calcium and magnesium are two hard minerals that tend to contribute to such a build-up.

While some water conditioners offer a few softening benefits, the primary benefit of a water conditioner is to remove disinfectants used in water treatment such as chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, lead, and organic gases. These substances alter how your water smells and tastes. Conditioned water has had these substances removed, resulting in water that smells cleaner and tastes crisp. 

How long does the water conditioner take to work? Water conditioning happens quickly. As water passes through the water conditioner any harmful chemicals such as chlorine and chloramines are removed. This makes water conditioners capable of providing on-demand conditioned water and providing as much conditioned water as you need. We’re talking gallons and gallons of safe drinking water made readily available.

You may have heard of electronic water conditioning. If you are curious about an electronic water conditioner do they work to reduce scaling, the answer is maybe. The existing research on electronic or magnetic water conditioners is conflicted. For a home water conditioner you know will work, look for units with proven effectiveness.

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Water Conditioner vs Water Softener

Water conditioners and water softeners function in fundamentally different ways and produce very different results. Whereas water softeners are used to remove hard minerals from water, water conditioners are primarily used to remove unwanted chemicals that alter the taste or smell of your water. 

Water softeners achieve this by removing the mineral ions from the water and replacing them with sodium ions – a process known as ion exchange. In contrast, salt free water conditioners use different methods of achieving their goal. Some water conditioners utilize activated carbon to trap unwanted chemicals, while others also incorporate TAC media to provide some soft water benefits.

Both water conditioners and water softeners are considered a point-of-entry (POE) water supply treatment solution. They are installed where your water line comes into your home so that they are able to treat water before it is distributed throughout your home. 

Here are a few of the key ways water conditioners are different from water softeners:

If you aren’t sure whether a tap water conditioner or water softening system is right for you, it may be helpful to schedule a water quality test. A water quality test will tell you what contaminants are present – chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals – and how hard your water is. Schedule a test with Rayne Water today so that one of our technicians can help you assess your water treatment needs and find the best treatment solution for you. Softened or conditioned water is not too far away!

Closing Thoughts

Whether you need a solution for dealing with the effects of hard water around your home, or are looking to remove chlorine and other chemicals and gases from your water, there is an effective system for you. Water conditioners are a salt-free alternative to water softening systems which are used to remove lead, chlorine, chloramines, and other substances that give your water an unpleasant smell or taste.

While most water conditioners won’t provide the benefits of softened water, there are some hybrid systems which will soften and condition water. At the same time, water conditioners like the Spartan 1000/1250 use TAC media to protect against scaling. So no matter what type of water treatment system you need, there’s a solution at Rayne available for you!

To learn more about water conditioners, please contact Rayne Water today. Our knowledgeable staff can help you explore systems that transform the hardness of water and find a solution that fits your needs! It’s time to enjoy clean, soft water. And lots of it!

Find a location near you!

Sources:

  1. http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g1491.pdf
  2. https://water.unl.edu/article/drinking-water-wells/salt-free-water-softener-alternatives
  3. https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/multi-aia/the-intelligent-scale-solution–template-assisted-crystallization
  4. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/567404
  5. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a399455.pdf
  6. Vastyan, John. 2010. “Template-Assisted Crystallization.” Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering 82 (11): 34–37.